Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.
From the hills of Richfield, Minnesota Miss Richfield 1981 returns to Chicago for an appearance at Hydrate Night Club. Always on the go and traveling, ChicagoPride.com's Jerry Nunn tracked down this Orbitz commecial star to chat with the character behind the glasses.
JN: (Jerry Nunn) First off where did that name come from?
MR: (Miss Richfield 1981)I'm a beauty pageant title-holder born and raised in Richfield, where butter is a spice and gravy is a beverage. It's also Minnesota's first suburb and the home of our international airport! Yes, there's a bit of a draft when the 747's skim our rooftops, but that doesn't bother me because I always wear my hair with the chinstrap down. Richfield is not only home for me, but also where my ministry of beauty started when I received my title as a result of my natural raven bouffant, booming baritone vibrato and a small fire that horribly disfigured all of the 11 other contestants.
JN: Is Miss R modeled after someone you know?
MR: For my professional beauty career, I look to Virginia Christine, Mrs. Olson of Folgers Coffee fame. Although I am a strict Sanka drinker myself, because caffeine makes me run like a faucet, I remain a huge fan of any woman who's not too proud to make her man a pot of coffee. And in 1971 Virginia received the ultimate tribute when her hometown of Stanton, Iowa, transformed their city water tower into a giant coffee pot in her honor!
JN: How did get involved with Orbitz?
MR: I don't want to toot my own horn, but hang on while I grab my tuba! One of my two Orbitz commercials is up for a GLAAD Award this year! And those people at Orbitz are really, really smart. They discovered that when people see Miss Richfield 1981, they want to travel. It doesn't matter whether it's on the street, or in a restaurant or even in my shows, once people get near me, they just want to get up and go! It's very consistent!
JN: The latest commercial has you in a two-piece swimsuit. Did you go on a special diet before filming it?
MR: My reign as Miss Richfield 1981 requires that I maintain a strict diet, as all of the other reigning beauty queens in Richfield have gotten heavy! So occasionally I do the "Tic Tac & Sanka" diet. After a week of only decaf and breath mints, you may not know your name, but you'll never look better and you'll have fresh breath!
JN: Do you ever get seasick on all of those boat cruises?
MR: No seasickness, thank heavens! But I did get a terrible rash once on my seat that moved down my legs and settle as a fungus between my toes. So I haven't worn open-toed shoes for years. And I think the shoes may be the reason for my lack of seasickness. After all, with my 12-inch heels and my hair sprayed to Jesus, motion isn't a choice, it's my life.
JN: With all of these outfits, how big is your closet?
MR: I do have a large closet for all of my gowns and professional beauty wear. Fortunately what doesn't fit into my closet, I can neatly fold into large plastic tubs that fit perfectly under my trailer. But it's not just about fashion, I'm also a stickler for quality, so I ensure that all my gowns are machine washable, fire-resistant and made in the Philippines, where the children really know quality stitching.
JN: What kind of show will this be at Hydrate?
MR: It's my best yet! Unfortunately I don't have my reading glasses with me, so I'll have to do this from memory and the show is so current and new, even I don't know it! Here's the gist – I fashioned a multi-media extravaganza about the impending apocalypse, complete with upbeat music and informative videos that will encourage you to take a celebratory approach to the Armageddon! Get involved! You know that's where learning really starts!
JN: Is Christmas your favorite time of the year?
MR: Yes, but I think you'd agree that holidays like Christmas can get stale after a 2,000 years, so spicing it up with a new program about the Apocolipse can help. But the real professionals, like Modonna and me, know what makes the biggest splash – a new outfit! That's why I can't wait for audiences to get a gander at my new Santa velvet mini, trimmed entirely in baby seal fur.
JN: Do you really think we will all be dead by Christmas and it will be the end of the world?
MR: To be completely honest, I'm not sure. So just in case, I'm maxing out my cards at Walmart! That's one of the advantages of being a single gal in my late 20's, I have no close family members bogging me down with long and taxing farewells!
JN: I heard you just performed in Provincetown. How did it go?
MR: My summers in P-town are always a highlight of my year. And what could be finer than actually seeing the homos in their natural environment? It's like Halsted with fudge and taffy.
JN: What are some upcoming projects you have coming up?
MR: I'm usually on the road, with a generous and steady stream of one-way bus tickets from the Esther Circle, a women's group from my church. But when I have a free moment, I also love to keep up with my fans on my Apple IIE computer. So keep an eye out for my Tweeters, Facing Books, and soon a YouTube special, "Miss Richfield's Q & You!" I'll be answering questions, much like I'm doing here, only hopefully shorter! Yikes!
JN: Congrats on 30 years of you being you!
MR: I like to end my interviews with a word of advice. "Always pack a smile in your handbag!" my mother used to tell me. "Because you can lose your money, you can lose your lipstick, and you can lose your dignity! But as long as you've got a smile, you'll always be able to find some trucker to give you a ride home!"
Get Rich at Hydrate, 3458 N Halsted, on Sept. 28 and 29 with her show We'll All Be Dead by Christmas 2012. Visit www.hydratechicago.com for advance tickets and information.